By SAM PHIRI –
LUSAKA’s Chibolya Township has once again recorded a rise in illicit drugs trade, particularly cannabis.
The trade was rife during the campaign period for the August 11 general elections.
A check by the Sunday Times on the infamous Gaza Street, which is well-known for open cannabis sales, showed some traders cashing in on the displayed contraband with readily cut pieces of paper for rolling the illicit product.
An investigation on how the commodity was being taken to the township from other provinces revealed that the traders used sacks containing onion to conceal the compressed contraband.
Isaac Banda, a resident of Kanyama Township, told the Sunday Times that the illicit commodity was on high demand, especially during the campaign period.
He said some political party officials would buy cannabis for their cadres, thereby raising the demand for the commodity.
Some people were found buying the contraband in bulk for resale in other parts of the capital city and the country, using the similar method of concealing it.
This reporter who posed as one of the interested buyers was told: “We put the contraband in a bag of onion. That way it’s easy to transport it even using public passenger transport.”
About eight months ago, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) warned that it would not sit idle and watch drug trafficking take root in Zambia, but nothing has been done to address the Chibolya issue.
DEC public relations officer Theresa Katongo said the Commission was aware of the escalating illegal drugs trade and was doing its best to curb the vice from the source as opposed to where it was finally sold.
“We are not sitting idle over the matter and you should know that this is an ongoing battle which we will continue fighting, especially by targetting the source,” she said.
About two years ago, a combined team of DEC and Zambia Police officers raided the notorious Chibolya Township and arrested hundreds of suspects who were found in possession of illicit drugs.